Chiefs target return to winning form – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 31 October 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Friday Nov 24, 2017. 16:30

Kaizer Chiefs will look for a return to winning form in the Absa Premiership when they host Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium on 25 November 2017, kick-off at 18h00.

Chiefs played to a third successive draw when they were held 0-0 at AmaZulu on November 22. The Soweto side has managed just three wins so far this season and will need to accumulate points at a quicker rate if they are to challenge for top honours.

The Amakhosi are still in search of their first home win in 2017/18, having claimed just three points from five turns as hosts. Their last home game was a goalless draw against arch rivals Orlando Pirates last month.

Stars have gone three league matches without a win after they were held 1-1 at home by Chippa United on November 22. The Free State side last claimed a three-pointer when they beat Ajax Cape Town 2-0 at home in mid-October.

Ea Lla Koto have claimed six points from five away matches so far this season, though their last match on the road was a 1-0 defeat at Cape Town City prior to the last international break.

In head-to-head stats, Chiefs and Stars have met in 35 league matches since 1996. The Amakhosi have claimed 23 wins compared to just three for Ea Lla Koto, while nine matches have been drawn. The Soweto side has claimed 13 wins and suffered just one defeat in their 18 home matches against the Free State side.

Last season Chiefs claimed a league ‘double’ over Stars, winning 2-0 in the Free State in the first half of the campaign and 3-1 in the return game in Soweto. The Amakhosi have not lost a league match against Ea Lla Koto since the first half of the 2010/11 season.

Chiefs’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with AmaZulu on November 22: Khune, Cardoso, Hadebe, Ngezana, Zulu, Katsande, Maluleka, Ekstein (Tshabalala 66′), Molangoane, Páez (Zuma 83′), Parker (Jayiya 88′).

Stars’ line-up from their 1-1 draw with Chippa on November 22: Sangare, Mobbie, Keita, Mbhele, Phungwayo, Masehe, Mokhuoane, Jantjie, Maphakisa, Dlamini, Anas.

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Use video technology to target racists

Frankfurt’s Kevin-Prince Boateng (R)

Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 14, 2017. 10:00

Ghanaian star Kevin-Prince Boateng has urged authorities to use video technology in the fight against racism in football.

The former Black Stars attacker was famously the victim of a racial slur in 2013 during a friendly match between his then-club AC Milan and Pro Patria. Boateng walked off the pitch after he and other dark-skinned players were targeted by spectators.

Now the 30-year-old believes that using technology, which is already playing a greater role in the sport, to help identify racist fans is a viable option.

“We are writing the year 2017 and still have not found a way to do it,” Boateng said in an interview with the news magazine Focus, as quoted by GHANASoccernet.

“We’ve got goal-line technique and the video that Boateng was offside and the ref was not given. But why do not we use the technique that every racist is identified, kicked out, and never returned to the stadium?”

Such measures would “help mankind and not only sport” added the Eintracht Frankfurt player. “There are incidents in every new season. It just cannot happen.”

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Wits target first league win of the season

Sibusiso Sibeko of Golden Arrows challenged by Reeve Frosler of Bidvest Wits during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Bidvest Wits and Golden Arrows at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa on the 11 April 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Sep 12, 2017. 17:09

Bidvest Wits will target a first Absa Premiership win of the season when they host Golden Arrows at Bidvest Stadium on 13 September 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Wits’ title defence has got off to a painfully slow start, with a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Cape Town City on the opening weekend followed by a midweek 2-2 draw away to Free State Stars – very much coach Gavin Hunt’s ‘bogey’ side.

The Clever Boys will not be panicking at having claimed just one point from their opening two matches, but Hunt will emphasise the importance of victory in this home clash and hope that it sparks some momentum for the Johannesburg club.

Arrows have also struggled to get going in the league season, playing to successive 1-1 draws against Ajax Cape Town (away) and Bloemfontein Celtic (home).

Coach Clinton Larsen will want to see more fire from his Abafana Bes’thende side – though not as much as when the teams met in the MTN8 a few weeks back, and both he and counterpart Gavin Hunt were on the receiving end of six red cards dished out.

In head-to-head stats, Wits and Arrows have met in 28 league matches since 2001/02. The Johannesburg side has claimed 17 wins compared to four for their Durban counterparts, while seven matches have been drawn. The Clever Boys have a great home record in the league against Abafana Bes’thende, with 10 wins and just one defeat from 14 matches as hosts.

Wits took four points off Arrows last season, drawing 0-0 in Durban before claiming a 3-0 home win in the return thanks to a penalty from Frank Mhango and a brace of Mogakolodi Ngele goals. The Clever Boys are unbeaten in their last 15 league matches against Abafana Bes’thende.

Wits’ line-up from their 2-2 draw with Stars: Josephs, Hlatshwayo, Khumalo, Monare, Rodgers (Keene 79’), Hlanti, Claasen, Mhango, Kodisang, Frosler, Ntshangase (Pienaar 62’).

Arrows’ line-up from their 1-1 draw with Celtic: Gumede, Mzava, Bilankulu, Mngwengwe, Nonyane (Nkombelo 37′), Dlamini, Mahachi, Cele, Jooste (Mutizwa 76′), Magubane (Sibiya 63′), Lamola.

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Faouzi Ghoulam to be a Monaco transfer target? – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Algeria international left-back Faouzi Ghoulam

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Aug 24, 2017. 16:30

Napoli’s Algerian left-back Faouzi Ghoulam could well become a transfer target for French Ligue 1 side Monaco.

The principality club wants to have an offer in place which will be activated if defender Fabinho moves to Paris Saint-Germain.

Fabinho and teammate Kylian Mbappé have been linked with a move to PSG for a total fee in excess of €200m, with the Parisian side already spending €222m for Neymar.

According to Rai Sport, Monaco will try to sign the Fennec Foxes defender as a replacement for Fabinho, even though he plays on the opposite flank.

They add that the Partenopei are pushing to renew Ghoulam’s contract, and held a meeting on Monday.

A new deal has yet to be agreed, with Ghoulam set to become a free agent at the end of the current season.

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Senegal-born Diop a target for Lyon – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Aug 22, 2017. 12:00

Celta Vigo’s Senegalese-born midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop is reportedly a major transfer target for Olympique Lyon.

The French giants have lost Corentin Tolisso and Maxime Gonalons to Bayern Munich and Napoli respectively, leaving them in need of midfield reinforcements.

According to Le Progres, Lyon president Jean Michael Aulas has set his sights on landing Diop, who is also a target for Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur.

OL hope to steal Diop from under Spurs’ nose by offering €10m to Celta, with the hope that the transfer will be wrapped up by the weekend.

Diop, 20, was born in Senegal but moved to Spain at age 14 and has been on Celta’s books since 2013.

He has represented Spain at junior international level but remains eligible to switch his allegiance to the land of his birth.

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Mali target home victory over Gambia

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jul 20, 2017. 17:00

Mali will welcome Gambia in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 19h00 CAT.

The Zone West A second-leg match will take place at the Stade Modibo Kéïta in Mali’s capital city, Bamako.

The Eagles were held to a goalless draw by Gambia in the first-leg clash at the Independence Stadium in Bakau last weekend.

Mali will be confident of beating the Scorpians at home in front of their passionate supporters.

Gambia have never qualified for the CHAN finals, while Mali have participated in the last three finals.

The winner on aggregate between Mali and Gambia will meet either Liberia or Mauritania in the second round.

Mauritania are leading against Liberia on aggregate after winning the first-leg clash 2-0 in Monrovia last weekend.

Referee Nabil Boukhalfa, who hails from Algeria, is the man, who will be in charge of the match between Mali and Gambia.

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Aymen Abdennour a target for Premier League duo – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Valencia defender Aymen Abdennour

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Jul 18, 2017. 13:00

Tunisian defender Aymen Abdennour is a transfer target for Premier League duo Leicester City and Southampton.

The 27-year-old Carthage Eagles has long been linked with a move to England, though the transfer has never quite materialised.

Abdennour almost joined Everton last year before the deal collapsed, while more recently Olympique Marseille are said to have taken an interest in the player.

However, according to Foot Mercato, OM will have stiff competition from English duo Leicester and Southampton, who are both keen to bolster their centre-back options.

Internazionale are also said to be interested in the Tunisia, who has played for Etoile du Sahel, Werder Bremen, Toulouse, Monaco and Valencia in his career.

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Recreativo do Libolo target quarter-finals

Smouha player Ayman Ashraf (L) in action against Recreativo Libolo player Ezequiel Juliao (L)during the African Champion League (CAF) Round of 16 match between Smouha vs Recreativo Libolo at Borg Al Arab Stadium in Alexandria , Egypt, 24 May 2017

Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jul 07, 2017. 13:00

Recreativo do Libolo will face off with Smouha in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup Group C match at the Estadio Municipal de Calulo in Calulo on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 16h00 CAT.

Libolo suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sudanese outfit Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid in their previous group match which was played in Al-Ubayyid last weekend.

The defeat left the Angolan side placed third on the Group C standings with six points. They are one point behind second-placed ZESCO.

A victory over ZESCO will be enough to send Libolo to the knockout stages if the Zambian side suffered a defeat to Al Hilal, who have already qualified.

Meanwhile, Smouha drew 1-1 with Zambian side ZESCO United in their previous group match which was played in Alexandria last weekend.

The draw left the Egyptian side placed at the bottom of Group C standings with five points. They are two points behind second-placed ZESCO.

Smouha can still qualify for this year’s quarter-finals if they defeat Libolo and the other result between Al Hilal and ZESCO goes their way.

Referee William Agbobi, who hails from Ghana, will be in charge of the encounter between Libolo and Smouha.

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Wydad Casablanca target Zanaco scalp at home

Al-Ahly player Ahmed Fathy (L) in action against Zanaco player Augustine Mulenga (R) during the African Champions League

Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Jul 08, 2017. 13:00

Wydad Casablanca will play host to Zanaco in the 2017 CAF Champions League Group D match at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 20h00 CAT.

Casablanca overcame Cameroonian club Coton Sport 2-0 in their previous group match which was played in Garoua last weekend.

The victory sees the Moroccan club placed second on the Group D standings with nine points. They are two points behind group leaders Zanaco.

A win over the Zanaco will see Casablanca finish at the top of the group and qualify for the knockout stages of this year’s tournament.

Meanwhile, Zanaco held Egyptian giants Al Ahly to a goalless stalemate in their previous group match which was played in Lusaka last weekend.

The draw sees the Zambian side placed at the top of the Group D standings with 11 points. They are three points above third placed Al Ahly.

A draw with Casablanca will be enough to send Zanaco to the quarter-finals of this year’s competition, even if Al Ahly beat Coton Sport in their final group match.

South African referee Daniel Bennett is the man, who will be in charge of the encounter between Casablanca and Zanaco.

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Tanzania target third place finish in Cosafa Cup

Himid Mkami of Tanzania challenged by Diamond Chikwekwe of Zambia during 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup match between Zambia and Tanzania at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg on 05 July 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jul 06, 2017. 18:30

Tanzania will face off with Lesotho in the 2017 COSAFA Cup third-place play-off at the Moruleng Stadium in Moruleng on Friday.

Kick-off is at 19h30 CAT.

The Taifa Stars were beaten 4-2 by Zambia in the semi-final encounter which was played at the Moruleng Stadium on Tuesday.

Salum Mayanga, the Tanzania head coach, will be looking to mastermind a victory over Lesotho in order to secure a third place finish in the tournament.

Erasto Nyoni, who hit the back of the net for the Taifa Stars against Zambia, is one of Tanzania’s dangermen and he will be keen to inspire his side to victory.

Meanwhile, Lesotho were narrowly defeated 4-3 by Zimbabwe in the semi-final clash which was played at the Moruleng Stadium on Tuesday.

Likuena head coach Moses Maliehe will be hoping to ensure that his side end their 2017 COSAFA Cup campaign on a winning note and finish fifth in the competition.

Mabuti Potloane, who was on the scoresheet against Zimbabwe, will be eager to score and help Likuena overcome Tanzania.

Tanzania and Lesotho met in the 2015 COSAFA Cup in Moruleng. Likuena overcame the Taifa Stars 1-0 a Group B match.

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